Gotham Season 1 on DVD Big discounts on
stuff you want!

Arrow Season 3 on DVD Car Battery Charger The Flash Season 1 on DVD Book About Greensboro Mary Tyler Moore Show on DVD Flintstones on DVD
New TV



by Cary O'Dell

At the risk of dating myself, yes, kids, there was a time—oh, not so long ago!—when after watching the newest episode of your favorite TV show you had to wait a week (yep, a whole week!) before you got to see the next one.  And in those endless seven days between episodes all you had to quench your thirst for more were, maybe, a couple of previews at the end of the show you just watched and the warm and fuzzy memories you currently had.

Think it couldn’t get worse?  Well, there was also a time when, should you have missed that just-aired episode (YES, this really happened back in the day!), you had to wait almost a year before it aired again via something called a “rerun.”

Yes, children, the world was once a very cruel place.

Thankfully, though, this set-up was the norm only for a short time as, not long after it began, TV producers and studios discovered the power of the repeat and then local stations created (discovered?) something called “off-network syndication,” a phenomena where repeats of your TV favorites aired five-days a week, in “stripped” timeslots—same “Bat Time,” same “Bat Channel”—every day!  Of course, you had to be home and at the set at that “Bat Time/Channel” everyday, but I digress…

Oh, yes, those were the days! 

Star Trek 1966Because of syndication, a lot of us were lucky enough to grow up with regular afterschool airings of “Brady Bunch,” “Star Trek,” and all the “Lucys” we could handle.  Yep, we considered ourselves quite fortunate to have been born during such a remarkable time. 

But then, for better or worse, things began to change.  Home video (first on VHS tapes and then on DVD) made the purchase and re-watching of MANY episodes of our favorite series (from “Dobie” to “Donna Reed”) something completely within our grasp.  Starting in the ‘80s, you could buy four episodes of “Flying Nun” or maybe even an entire season of your favorite show or, if you really had the money, the WHOLE FREAKING SERIES! 

We thought life was good.  So good!

Then, Netflix came along and around that same time the internet exploded.  And, of course, the internet changed everything in the whole wide world.

And as for TV watching now?  Well, you know the score. 

Today, via a staggering number of “streaming” services (often with weird and cutesy names ranging from Hulu to Crackle), each and every episode of a gigantic plethora of vintage TV series--dating from the early 1950s up to, well, probably last night—is now available for immediate and, if you wish, all-in-one-sitting viewing.

Meanwhile, some of these aforementioned services—like Netflix—have further upped their game.  They have gone from simple content PROVIDERS to content CREATORS.  Netflix and Amazon, among others, now have their own home-grown series (like the Emmy-winning “Ozark” or the soon-to-return “Bosch”).

Halston TV sseriesAmong the qualities that make these made-for-streaming series different from their network and basic cable brethren (besides, of course, the adult language and the occasional nudity that these series can get away with) is how they come to us, as viewers.  There’s no week-long wait here.  No, most original streaming series see all their episodes made available all at once.  Every episode, upfront.  A case in point, this past weekend, I watched Netflix’s five-part “Halston” mini-series in basically a day and a half.  I watched all eight episodes of Peacock’s new “Girls5eva” in about a week.

It’s interesting now to note that, back when television first became a truly MASS medium (c. the very late 1940s and early 1950s), most of the programs on it, both network and local, were only 15 minutes in length.  One of the reasons that show times were so short was that TV execs at that time thought that viewers would never sit still for a full 30 minutes or—egads!—a full hour just to WATCH TELEVISION.  Well, I guess we proved them wrong on that one, haven’t we?

DVD’s, Netflix, and all the new-fangled others, have, quite simply, changed the way we watch television.  There was a time when the word “binge” was used only to describe the late-night, elicit eating of entire boxes of Girl Scout Thin Mints.  But, not now; now we binge programs.  

In a way, binge watching is a great compliment:  a program is so good you want more…and you want it NOW. 

Sadly, though, not every show that is streaming--that is available to be “binged”--should be binged.  In fact, some of the small screen’s greatest achievements seem to falter, or even fail, when watched in these sort of marathon viewing sessions. 

Green Acres TV showShows like “Get Smart” and many from the Paul Henning oeuvre, such as “Green Acres” and “Beverly Hillbillies,” seem to fall short when viewed one right after the other.  These series, set within their own separate, Dada-esque universes, gain their power when they are off-set by, contrasted by, the “reality” of other “regular” television and even real life.  But when they are watched en masse, the world of Hooterville or the ins and outs of CONTROL and KAOS become “the norm,” causing many of the show’s gags to, then, flatline.

Even some of TV’s greatest creations don’t lend themselves well to being viewed in endurance-type watch parities.  “All in the Family” becomes incredibly strident (not to mention really loud) when episodes are watched one after the other.  Even, to my mind, the masterpiece that is “The Honeymooners” starts to feel really redundant when binged.

Bob Newhart ShowConsider:  In its initial airing, “All in the Family” was often followed by the far softer styles of other shows like “Mary Tyler Moore” and the original “Bob Newhart Show,” allowing audiences a little breathing room after “Family’s” sharp humor and political views.  (Audiences also, of course, originally, had a full week to process Archie Bunker’s bite before going back for more.)  It’s a pause that the binge does not make possible.

Netflix and others new-comers to the TV game know that their shows will be watched in quick succession and produce them and release them to meet that consumer desire.  The only program that they seem willing to pace out in a one-a-week schedule is the “Great British Bake Off,”  everything else they offer in larger groups; their recent reality show, the 25-installment “The Circle,” saw its episodes dropped in weekly groups of five.

And that sort or release schedule is all well and good:  give the people what they want.  But, sadly, shows that don’t binge well—like aforementioned “Family” or “Honeymooners”—are, today, too often being denigrated, recast as unsuccessful shows because they don’t hold up to an all-in, bender-style viewing process.

But they shouldn’t be devalued.  These shows were not produced to be marathon-ed; you are experiencing them in a way that they were not intended, the way a big screen sci-fi spectacle loses its luster when watched on your phone, the way a great painting loses its power when reproduced in black and white.

Much like the food products we consume come with warnings, “Best if used by…,” I sometimes think that some of our great TV achievements should also come with a disclaimer of sorts:  “WARNING:  Best if not binged.” 

Because, like the aforementioned box of Girl Scout cookies, not all things are meant for being devoured all at once.  Sometimes things are meant to be taken slow, drawn out, and even savored.

[My thanks to my friend, Mike Heintz, for begetting the conversation that resulted in this essay.]


Post-Modern Sitcoms / Actors That Wrote Books / 1987 Gilbert Gottfried Pilot Written By Larry David / Tarantino, DiCaprio & Pitt on Once Upon A Time In Hollywood / Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci Talk Goodfellas / Coming to America - The Awful Sitcom? / Robert Wagner Interview / Helen Mirren on 1923 / Lucky 19-Year Old Birthday Boy on The Price is Right / 1990-1999 TV Commercials / James Hong on the First & Only Asian Talent Agent in Hollywood / More Than Myagi: The Pat Morita Story / Chevy Chase 2021 Interview / Ally McBeal and that Darn Dancing Baby / Ed Begley Jr. Interview / Peter Boyle's Heart Attack on the Set of Everybody Loves Raymond / Patrick Swayze Refused To Do 'Ghost' Without Whoopie Goldberg / Clark Furlong on Stephen King's Mini-Series Lisey's Story / 14-Year Old Brody Bett Steals the Show at a David Foster Concert / Worst Big Budget Superhero Movie of All Time / Jerry Springer's Toxic TV Legacy / Three Generations of Talent / One Season Too Many / Dick Wolf on the Writer's Strike / Angela Lansbury Tribute / Houston Knights / Uncle Buck Sitcom / My Brush With King Charles / Bonnie Bartlett Daniels Interview / Frank Zappa Talk Show? / Remembering Marvel & Buffy Scribe Pierce Askegren / Piper Laurie Tribute / 1993 Route 66 Reboot / David Hyde Pierce on the Last Days of ‘Frazier’ / Angela Lansbury Interview / The Shadow Movies of the 1930s & 40s / Remembering Hal Holbrook / Remembering Angela Lansbury / Greensboro Movie Theaters : Star Theatre / Police Squad Shot-By-Shot Remake of M Squad! / A Painting Saved Bill Murray's Life / Why Jim Carrey Fought to Cast Jeff Daniels in 'Dumb and Dumber' / Meredith Baxter Talks Breast Cancer / Sopranos Creator David Chase Had to Fight to Make Tony Soprano the Mobster He Was / Joan Collins on Working With Drunk Actors / Snowmaggedon 1969 / Joe Pesci HATES Practical Jokes / Books About Showbiz / Making It in Showbiz / Dark Justice / My Fave Book About Showbiz / Remembering Billy Packer / More Celebrity Biographies / Peter Falk : Inside The Actor's Studio / Jason Alexander on Duckman / Robert Ebert on Robert Mitchum / Watch Dave Chappelle's New Netflix Special for Free / Margaret (Wicked Witch of the West) Hamilton Was Almost Scarred For Life Filming Wizard of Oz / Restaurant Chains We Might Lose In 2020 / Night Heat / Short History of TV Advertising / Is Ellen A Monster? / To Binge Or Not To Binge? / 1986-87 TV SEASON / Celebrity Bios 4 / 1988-89 TV SEASON / 1990-91 TV SEASON / Can Comic Book City Survive? / When TV Plays Politics for Laughs / The Worst Thing I Ever Saw (Part 2) / Greensboro's Beef (Biff) Burger Has Closed! / Sally Field Looks Back on Smokey and the Bandit / Actors Writing Memoirs 2 / Gene Wilder's Sexual Chemistry with Richard Pryor / WORST Pizzas Served On Kitchen Nightmares / Ricky Gervais' Cruelly Funny 2020 Golden Globe Monologue / What It's Like To Win A New Car on The Price Is Right / Night Train! 3 - Las Vegas Comic Pat Cooper / Night Train! 4 - Resurrection and Death of Louis Prima / Denis Shepard of Paradise Lost / Space Force Logo is a Ripoff from Star Trek! / Batman Movie from 1939? What?!? / Michael Richards (Kramer) Really Hated It When his Seinfeld Co-Stars Messed Up / Melissa McCarthy Almost Quit Acting Days Before Landing Gilmore Girls / Bar Rescue's Wildest Customers! / How The Golden Girls and Elvis Got Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs Made / Charlie Brown Voice Actor Released From Prison / New Year's Eve on TV / Sir Laurence Olivier on the 'Genius' of Marlon Brando / 1967 Futurists Predict The 21st Century / Remembering Diahann Carroll / 50 Funniest Niles Crane Insults / TV HITS - By the Numbers / How Tom Hanks Played Mr. Rogers / Colin Farrell as The Penguin? / Alex Baldwin On His TV and Film Roles / Ray Charles' BIG Problem With TV / Malcolm Gladwell on TV Crime Dramas / Why Dolly Parton Would Not Let Elvis Record 'I Will Always Love You' / Top Ten Sitcoms of the 1970s / Danny McBride Rebooting Hogan's Heroes? / Fashion on TV / Alive & Well / James Cameron Made No Money for Titanic / Whatever Happened To Miss Cleo? / Lucy Blows Off Burt Reynolds / Dave Navarro Meets His Mother's Killer / The Real Mindhunters Killers / John Goodman Breaks Down His Iconic Roles / Growing Up In The Playboy Mansion / Ed McMahon Drunk on the Air! / Lucy Interviewed by Barbara Walters / Valerie Harper Cancer / Jeff Bridges Breaks Down His Iconic Roles / Dog Fight! The KCNC Scandal / Buckley vs Hefner / Laurence Olivier vs Marilyn Monroe / Dallas vs Eight is Enough / 1974 MAD Magazine TV Special - Never Aired! / Iconic M*A*S*H Restaurant Coming To Kroger? / Matt Damon, Bill Murray, and Graham Norton - Big Laughs! / When Lucy Got Fired / Partridge Family and Brady Bunch at Kings Island theme park 1972-73 / Awkward Talk Show Moments / Allan Blye Interview / Jack Benny's Last Tonight Show 1974 / Patricia Heaton's Audition for Everybody Loves Raymond / Luke Perry's Last Role / Johnny Cash's Last Interview / Judy Garland's Last Film / Who Was Bob Gordon? / Richard Dreyfuss vs Bill Murray / Jeff Ross vs Everybody / Tennessee Williams 1972 Interview / Ed Asner Interview / Norm Macdonald vs OJ Simpson / Tony Kornheiser Interview / Freddy's Nightmares TV Series / Awful 1990s TV Shows / The Funniest Comebacks in Talk Show History / Was Sonny Bono Murdered? / Robin Williams' Mrs. Doubtfire Screen Tests / Robert Downey Jr Asks for Forgiveness for Mel Gibson / Russell Brand / Hank Williams: The Show He Never Gave / Judy Garland vs Liz Taylor / Emmy Award Multiple Winners / Nathaniel Taylor aka Rollo Lawson / Anthony Zuiker: Mr. CSI / Jimmy & Cher / Diana Muldaur: A Viewer's History / Uncle Andy's Funhouse / Bea Arthur vs Betty White / Skidoo: Worst All-Star Comedy Ever? / Every Marvel Cartoon Opening Theme From 1966 - Present / When Stars Play Themselves / My Pen Pal is in the Pen, Pal / Small Roles Big Performances / Barbara Hall / Stars Before They Were Famous / Stars Before They Were Famous 2 / Stars Before They Were Famous 3 / A Better Classic TV Network / Bill Paxton / Who Was the Black Daliah? / How Frasier Was Created / Music Videos / Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - Behind the Scenes / Shirley Jones Interview / What We Lost When We Lost VHS / When Hit TV Shows Return / Commercials Starring Sopranos Cast Members / Shows Nobody Remembers But Me 4 / Shows Nobody Remembers But Me 1 / Bryan Cranston Interview / FREE streaming movie service you didn’t know you have / The Great Cable TV Migration / Sportscaster Woody Durham / Movie Posters and the documentary 24x36 /Chris Robinson /Dallas Reboot /David Letterman /Auditioning For Game Shows in the 80s /Ghosts of Cable TV past / Honey Boo Boo - WTF?!? / Steven Bochco Tribute / Ian Abercrombie / Joe Franklin / John Nettles / Gotham / Family Fued: Gilligan's Island vs Lost In Space / Jon Cryer / Jon Stewart / Lana Wood / David Letterman / Matt Bomer / Molly Ringwald / Morgan Brittany / Music Rights for TV Shows / Neilsen Ratings / Norman Lloyd / Not Your Dad's TV / TV Series Reunions / Rich Little / Special Bulletin with George Clooney / Howard Stern VS Jamie Foxx / Top Ten Action Movies / 2013 Emmy Awards / 2010 Celebrity Deaths


TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!
It is what it is!


Sonny and Cher



Lost Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Video Vault / TV Goodbyes / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / More Modern TV Shows / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog

TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!
Classic TV on the Internet!

TV's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the 1970s / The Eighties / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments
New TV



Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / 1970's TV / Groucho vs William F Buckley / / TV Games / Honey Boo Boo / Lucy Shows / Classic Cars / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Rockford Files / Sea Hunt / 1970s Commercial Jingles / Superman on DVD / Toy Gun Ads / Flip Wilson Show / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / What's In Oprah's Purse? / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / Winchell & Mahoney / Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Sammy Davis, Jr / Steve & Eydie/ Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / 1966 ABC TV Shows / 1967 TV Shows / 1968 TV Shows / Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll / Fridays / TV Moms / Red Skelton / Bette Midler in the 1970s / Bonus 1970's Stuff: Biff Burger / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / ABC Movie of the Week / The Goldbergs / Daws Butler Commercials / Saturday Morning Commercials / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Amos 'n' Andy / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You /  Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Commercial Icons of the 1960s / Soupy Sales /The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor big brotherShow / George Burns / Lucy's Lost Christmas Special / Classic Christmas Toy Commercials / Cricket On The Hearth / 1950's Holiday Shows / Amahl and the Night Visitors / A Christmas Carol on TV / The Yule Log / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More!